Opposition Tells Israeli PM to Quit after Knesset Loss

On late Monday, the government’s coalition suffered a stinging loss in the Knesset, but it vowed to come back stronger than before. However, the silence of a prominent member after the defeat was rather conspicuous and left people wondering how long the fragile and embattled coalition would be able to survive. Two MKs of the Arab coalition had also voted against the bill that was meant to renew the extension of the criminal and civil law in Israel to people living in the West Bank. The bill suffered a defeat in the Knesset on Monday, which means the chances of it being passed before its June 30th deadline are now low.

The result was used by the opposition as a way to highlight the government’s weakness and it said that its time was over. Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party told Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister of Israel, to return the country to the right and leave. The Religious Zionism party’s Bezalel Smotrichalso said that the government was close to its end. He said that the vote on Monday showed that the government could not defend the rights of Israeli citizens because it depends on anti-Zionist elements. He said that the government shouldn’t exist and it was a relief that Bennett’s government was going to end.

Smotrich, the Arab Joint List party and Likud, all voted against the legislation. The leaders of the coalition said that they would carry on even after the loss. It comprises of eight different parties, all of which have different ideologies. The coalition did not collapse after the vote and they can still present a modified version of the bill in the Knesset. YairLapid, the Foreign Minister, said that they would come back stronger as they do after every loss. He is the coalition’s primary architect. The head of the Islamist Ra’am party, Mansour Abbas said that they would come up with a way for keeping the coalition together.

MK GhaidaRinawieZoabi of the Meretz party and MK MazenGhanaim of the Ra’am party were the ones who voted against the legislation. Rebel MK IditSilman of the Yamina party and the remaining three members of the Ra’am party were not present in the plenum. RinawieZoabitweeted after the voting and said that she wanted to be on the right side of history, so she had decided to vote against the legislation. According to her, she wants to ensure that the Palestinian people get their basic rights and the occupation is not legitimized.

Last month, she had resigned from the coalition for a brief period of time, but was convinced to return. However, the most concerning element was the silence of Gideon Sa’ar, the head of the New Hope party and the Justice Minister. Before the voting, he had warned that any member of the coalition not backing the bill would be participating in its end. He had said last week that the legislation would test the resolve of the coalition to continue its existence.

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